Give praise for this award-win­ning ho­tel

AN­NETTE LORD spends the night at Gothic Cedar Manor and dis­cov­ers what the Windermere area has to of­fer

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

WITH its arched win­dows and stained glass pan­els, Cedar Manor Ho­tel has a hint of church splen­dour among its sec­u­lar de­lights.

And it just adds to the charm of this mid-19th cen­tury Lake­land house nes­tled into a quiet cor­ner just off the main Am­ble­side road in Windermere.

I’m here for an overnight stop to re­mind my­self of what this part of the Lake Dis­trict has to of­fer. De­spite be­ing just a two-hour drive from Manch­ester, I con­fess I don’t get to this part of the world as much as I should.

As I turn in through the gates of Cedar Manor, I am greeted by a gi­ant old cedar dom­i­nat­ing the small gar­den, and own­ers Jonathan and Caro­line Kaye, who show me round.

This lux­ury bou­tique ho­tel started life as a pri­vate house in the 1850s when Gothic style was all the rage – hence the church win­dows and stained glass. Although much of it was taken out in the 1920s, Jonathan and Caro­line have kept the small pan­els that re­main and in­cor­po­rated them into their homely, yet up­mar­ket, mod­ern res­i­dence.

Cur­rently named Best Small Ho­tel in Cum­bria, Cedar Manor was also re­cently high­ly­c­ommended in the same cat­e­gory at the Visit Eng­land Awards – putting it in the coun­try’s top six – so it is an ap­proach that is ob­vi­ously pay­ing off.

For ex­tra lux­ury, there’s also a de­tached Coach House Suite in the grounds – com­plete with su­per king­size bed­room and a dou­ble spa air­bath.

Lo­cal pro­duce is a fea­ture here, and it doesn’t stop at Lake­land tea and the pot­ted More­cambe Bay shrimps on the light bites menu.

The fur­ni­ture is made be­spoke lo­cally, the well-stocked bar has Hawk­shead beer and Lakes-pro­duced gin, jew­ellery by lo­cal artists is on sale and much of the food served in the res­tau­rant is from lo­cal sup­pli­ers.

Jonathan and Caro­line are also proud of their eco-friendly sta­tus and ef­forts to be part of the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

The 10 bed­rooms are not num­bered, in­stead they are named af­ter the hills on view out of the win­dow – a nice touch which Caro­line and Jonathan re­tained from the pre­vi­ous own­ers when they took over the ho­tel eight years ago.

I am in ‘Con­is­ton’, which as you might have guessed is ac­com­pa­nied by a glo­ri­ous view.

It is just the push I need to leave the com­fort of Cedar Manor be­hind and get some fresh air.

As well as be­ing just a few min­utes’ walk from the cen­tre of Windermere, this is also a good spot for some small-scale ex­plor­ing. A pleas­ant path from out­side the ho­tel en­trance takes visi­tors to the woods of Miller Ground and on to the lakeshore in a 15-minute stroll.

But first I head in the op­po­site di­rec­tion and tackle Or­rest Head, climb­ing up the wind­ing path to the van­tage point with its spec­tac­u­lar – and on this breezy day, brac­ing – panorama of lakes and hills.

Back at Cedar Manor, I have time to re­lax be­fore din­ner and I go down­stairs to dis­cover it is backgam­mon night. Jonathan plays the game and so one night a week lo­cals take over the welcome lounge for a few hours of com­pe­ti­tion and friendly ban­ter. The ho­tel also hosts the Lake Dis­trict backgam­mon cham­pi­onships ev­ery year.

The res­tau­rant has been awarded two AA rosettes for culi­nary ex­cel­lence, so I am seem­ingly in good hands, and my meal doesn’t dis­ap­point.

I go for cock-a-leekie ter­rine with prune puree and mar­i­nated steak ke­bab with spicy wedges and piz­zaiola sauce, although I could just as easily have plumped for the honey and marsala glazed pork fil­lets or the aro­matic salmon with pi­laf rice and ginger.

A cou­ple of glasses of red wine from the ex­ten­sive wine list and it’s time for me to slip be­tween the Egyp­tian white cot­ton sheets in room Con­is­ton and won­der what to­mor­row will bring.

At break­fast I am greeted by a fresh rose on the ta­ble and a se­lec­tion of home­made jams among the var­ied ce­re­als and pas­tries.

Then, be­fore I say good­bye to Jonathan and Caro­line, it’s time to ex­plore and I head north for the short drive to Gras­mere to check out the Heaton Cooper Stu­dio, which is named af­ter a fam­ily of artists and is still fam­ily-run. As well as per­ma­nent and tem­po­rary ex­hi­bi­tion space, the gallery also dou­bles up as a bookshop and art shop with a range of art ma­te­ri­als.

Also on my list was Ry­dal Mount which, although not as fa­mous as nearby Dove Cot­tage, was the home of Wil­liam Wordsworth for al­most 40 years. Open to the public, the house still con­tains much orig­i­nal fur­ni­ture and the gar­dens were land­scaped by Wordsworth him­self, re­main­ing largely un­changed.

As this year is the 200th an­niver­sary of his poem Daf­fodils, this seemed a fit­ting end to my jour­ney.

●● View from An­nette’s room, Con­is­ton, to­ward the Old Man of Con­is­ton

●● The splen­dour of the Cedar Manor Ho­tel, Windermere

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